[ this end up ]

Away We Go

In Parenting, Writing on September 1, 2010 at 9 am

If one pulled their stare from the captivating promise of the green preview screen to the theater’s newest entrants, they surely would notice the bump on her midsection. This bump and my open protective hand, bracketing her gentle sway—a gesture full of earnest care but empty as a safety measure—would lead this preview-missing movie-goer to conclude that our expecting circumstance was our reason for attending this particular flick.

They’d be correct.

Away We Go is the story of an expectant couple searching for a place to start their lives as parents. Starting your life as parents is daunting, maybe not for everyone, for us, though, it is very.

The difficulty stems from the new importance of your every decision. The ability of plastic clips to perform their designed task requires MIT-like research. Transposing human needs onto a newborn means new, previously unheard of, products. They poop how frequently, into what, and at what cost? They wear what, how, when, and at what cost? They sleep in this, rest in that, lay in the other thing, and at what cost? Price tags play a major role in this act. Air and milk are abundant and free, but I guess the fresh-faced require a good deal more than that these days.

That human birth has occurred successfully for a hundred-thousand years, that every current one of the human billions had to slide a uterine and cervical path, most delivered using only the rusted tool of instinctual know-how (though know-how alone won’t clean up that mess) does little to assuage your fears. The dread certainty of future uncertainty is implacable.

Nothing you read can answer the most important and persistent question: Are we going to be able to give him all he needs at every turn? The question can’t be answered. We know not what turns will come and, thusly, can’t know his needs, or ours, at them.

Away We Go doesn’t mention any of these difficulties. Instead it focuses on the couple’s relationship and the baby’s effect on it. We with pea in pod recognize all the subtle promissory glances, the assurance of soft touch. We know her uncomfortable rustling, his uncomfortable affirmations of her beauty. When he promises that he’ll love her, even if her vagina goes AWOL in a pile of postpartum pudge, we laugh, part at the promise, part that we’ve made and not meant that same promise too.

The movie, also to its benefit, doesn’t explore the psyche of the characters. They aren’t searching for themselves; they’re searching for a place to be themselves. The movie goer just watches them try a few different places out.

How many of us are searching for what or who we are? We, cut of self-assured and reassured cloth, don’t search for who we are because we already know. And what we know about ourselves is often only infinitesimally affected by what we experience from day-to-day. Over time the dots that connect that day-to-day do influence our self-awareness but they mostly serve as simple place markers. We were there, now we are here. When the dots serve as personal direction, when they alter your course so hugely that the broader picture of who you think you are is forever changed, they do so not because you were searching for them but because they dropped out of nowhere and onto your noggin.

My son will be a big dot. The biggest yet. I’d like to write about it, about being a Dad. Not chronicling the day-to-day, but what the days do to change my understanding of myself, of love, of mankind. I don’t expect even a modest readership to my fatherhood journal. Reading, or watching, another’s life unfold in an average way is only mildly entertaining, at best. During Away We Go you never lose yourself in their story. While watching what was meant to be an affecting scene I thought, longingly: In the theater next to us a house is turning into a robot and blowing shit up.

At present, however—given the flutter of foot seen on the skin below her navel—the time for blowing shit up has passed. It is indeed time to put away such childish things; but where will it all go and how much does the place it goes cost?

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